The overpracticed act of complaining

Julia Kim

Staff Writer

The other day, I was talking to my mother about summer plans. Senior summer plans. And just the other day, she told me I would not be going to Korea over the summer. The ideas that I had, the projects that I intended to undertake, the schedule I imagined were thwarted with one word: no.

Being me, I sighed before my first words escaped my mouth. That’s not fair. Unfortunately for my mother, it did not stop there. I repeated the words a countless number of times that night before I let the argument settle, but I don’t think she found it an argument. No, it was me in my act of complaining.

The infectious act is apparent in every aspect in my life. It has plagued my thoughts and speech – whenever a matter negatively affects me, whenever an even does not go the way I need it to, whenever I don’t favor a decision. Something happens, and I respond. Ninety percent of the time, my response is a complaint, and ninety percent of the time, nothing happens.

That day, I sat for two hours debating with – blatantly put, complaining to – my mother. Compromise wasn’t reached at the end, and so I realized that complaints got nowhere. It was silly, surprising, even, that I could sit so long reiterating just one fact: it wasn’t fair.

It also astonishes me that complaining has become such an integral part of my life. Now that I think twice, it is addictive. After doing it for eighteen years, I know it is going to take more than a mere year to break the habit. It is hard to stop considering it has become so ingrained into all of my mental activities.

Even at school, I discover myself protesting against the most trivial of decisions that teachers make and wonder why I am doing so. It is all a part of the illusion that it creates because essentially it does not accomplish anything. It does, however, keep me trapped in the reality that it gets somewhere.

I suppose complaining has me thinking though, granted it is a creative act. I find myself expressing one thought in a multitude of ways. As I talked with my mother that night, I figured perhaps hundreds of different solutions amidst complaining.

I realize that it is simply just better to act, either forget or act. Although both are difficult tasks, especially after disappointment, they are better alternatives than reinforcing exactly what I do not desire.

I keep thinking about that night of unending complaints that my mother had to listen to – and pretend to care about – and I wish that those first words had not escaped my mouth. I wish that I just accepted her verdict and stopped before I became entangled in complaints.